The birthday party was at our local YMCA. We splashed in the pool and then ate pizza and pasta and sliders with dripping hair in the rec room. The kids played silly games for silly prizes and then cut into a huge hot pink cake and were sent home with a giant goody bag of candy.
Sounds like any birthday party you've ever been to, right? And it was, it was absolutely perfect.
Because it was full of Americans- the beautiful blond birthday girl. And her gorgeous Spanish mother, and her sweet abuela, and her doting gay uncle, and her neighbors, two moms, and her curly haired mixed race cousins, and my African children, her friends. Every shade of human was there. Every level of ability to speak English, every kind of immigrant status, every kind of gender and sexuality and ages and faiths too. All having a blast playing freeze dance and eating pink frosted cake.
I remember thinking, way back on that hot July day, that THIS is the America I want to live in. THIS is the America my husband and I brought our Ethiopian children to live in. This is the American I love.
Well, apparently a whole bunch of my fellow white people don't like the multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-lingual country we've built. So they voted a racist, sexist, hateful man to be our next President.
I'm having a very hard time with this, and I know a lot of you are too. It's hard to imagine, especially for those of us who enjoy multi-racial, multi-faith and multi-cultural families and communities, how much other people hate us. It's hard to imagine just how many people in America hate and fear us.
This is a terrifying time, for so many reasons. We don't know which of the many crazy campaign promises Trump made he will keep. We don't know who of the many crazy, hateful people who have campaigned with him will get cabinet positions. We don't know if the Republican Congress will go along with the Trump agenda or push back. We don't know how many "nice guys" voted for Trump out of Republican loyalty or misguided economic interests, and how many people voted for him because he is a racist.
There are so many lies and so much crazy. The one thing we do know is that there are a whole lot more work to do. Like many people who believe in a diverse, inclusive and respectful America, I've been woken up. My sweet bubble was shattered on election night. So here I am again, at my little computer with my little blog that I had all but abandoned (it's been a very busy season in our lives, and I found my well run dry)
We use the weapons and the tools we have. I have some words and I have a tiny little platform upon which to hang them up. I hope that if you believe in justice and fairness and respect for all you will pick up whatever tools you have and use them to build a better America - in the next 2 years, in the next 4 years... Use your phone to call your representatives. Use your voice to protest and stand up for those who are vulnerable. Use your fingers to type and your hands to heal and protect. Use your wallet to support organizations that defend your values and ideals.
And above all, use your heart. Love as hard as you can. It is the only thing that can defeat so much hate.
In the future we will hopefully build, I really want to invite you to a birthday party- a tan and pink and brown, laughing in all the languages, praying in all the faiths, holding all the hands, all-American, pink-frosted cake birthday party!